News: Gov. Walker signs legislation aimed at helping National Guard, Reserves
Story by Vaughn Larson
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker signed into law two state senate bills that benefit reserve component service members in Wisconsin Aug. 5 at the state Department of Military Affairs.
Senate Bill 120 broadens the eligibility criteria for family members of National Guard and Reserve soldiers or airmen to receive financial assistance from a program funded by voluntary contributions. The program, administered by the Department of Military Affairs, was established to provide emergency financial assistance up to $2,500 to immediate families of service members on active duty. The newly signed legislation expands eligibility to families of Guard or Reserve members on traditional drilling status, as well as for service members who do not have dependent family members.
"It's one more way we can very tangibly show our thanks and appreciation, not only for the men and women who serve, but their families," Walker said. "We still have men and women deployed and we still have the potential for more deployments throughout this year and into the coming year, and that's all the more reason why it's important to do things like this."
"Our community, our state, our citizens, really appreciate all that you do, and we're here today to see another manifestation of that support," said Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general. "It comes from the people of Wisconsin through our elected leaders who see a need and an opportunity to help the Wisconsin National Guard, and they moved to pass legislation to make sure that takes effect."
Senate Bill 117 brings the travel expense reimbursement for National Guard members on state active duty in line with federal active duty rates.
"This law simplifies reimbursement for our National Guard members," Walker said. He thanked state Sen. Jerry Petrowski of Marathon, Wis., and state Rep. Warren Petryk of Eleva, Wis., for their efforts on the bipartisan bill.